Yo-Yo Ma makes rare visit to Keeler School

Dec. 08, 2017

 ​becq photography international

Students at Keeler School were treated to a rare opportunity to receive a music lesson from world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Students who participated in the unique event this afternoon are part of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s (CPO) PhilKids Programme, an initiative that focuses on bringing music lessons to underserved kids in the community.

“If you want to change the world – invest in the children. I can’t think of many better ways to make a difference than the amazing PhilKids programme,” said Paul Dornian, President & CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. “Seeing Yo-Yo Ma interacting and making music with these elementary school children put a lump in my throat. Mr. Ma is a master communicator whether he is playing his cello, talking to the children, or listening to their wisdom. It made me want to be eight years old again.”

Mr. Ma listened to a cello performance by a number of children before performing to the group and said of his experience, “It’s always wonderful to walk into a room where you see children are engaged and curious. I can see the long-term effects of what the teachers, staff, and musicians have created. They have created a space for these students where their imagination and curiosity for the world is supported and encouraged.”

There were approximately 55 students, from Grades 1 to 5, who took part in the programme.

“The opportunity for us to host Yo-Yo Ma at Keeler School has been so phenomenal for our students,” said Denise Nimmo, principal. “They have been so excited for his visit to hear a world famous musician play for them and then to also have the experience of actually playing the cello for him to hear. To have this opportunity today is just out of this world and something that our students will carry in their hearts forever I am certain.”

“Such excitement and joy to have a visit to PhilKids by one of the world’s greatest cellists! It was truly unforgettable for all of us,” said Judith Kilbourne, Founding Donor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s PhilKids After-School Programme.